ADB and Germany Launch Initiative to Address Asia's Urban Challenges | Asian Development Bank

ADB and Germany Launch Initiative to Address Asia's Urban Challenges

News Release | 6 February 2007

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - ADB and the German Government today launched a joint initiative that will help improve the lives of up to 200 million people in Asia's growing cities.

The new Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA), announced at the end of a conference on Investing in Asia's Urban Future, will support local governments in implementing their urban development efforts. Partnering ADB in holding the meeting was the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

At the conference, more than 100 representatives of municipal, local, provincial and national agencies dealing with cities joined donors in finding new ways to improve the living conditions of the 1.6 billion people in Asia's cities. Among the clear messages to donors was the need for more flexibility in their approach to assisting city development and tailoring their investments to the needs of local communities.

"Our goal is to bring about lasting improvements in the living conditions of the urban poor, to limit negative environmental consequences of urban growth, and to make use of cities' potential for national development," Karin Kortmann, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and ADB Governor for Germany, told the conference.

Hailing the move as an important step forward, ADB Vice-President Ursula Schaefer-Preuss said CDIA would prove an innovative way to build new investments of up to $10 billion in Asia's cities in sanitation, urban transport, waste management and other urban infrastructure.

"We believe that a well-coordinated, multi donor initiative can contribute significantly toward improving the living conditions of people in Asian cities," she said.

"The long-term outcomes for the CDIA will be improved incomes and a better quality of life for Asia's urban citizens. The CDIA will also reduce the impact of city growth on the global environment."

CDIA will focus on supporting cities for better urban management through support of national urban strategies, fostering the role of cities in sustainable development, assist in the implementation of city development strategies, structuring and preparing investment projects and building local capacity for more effective implementation. The initiative will also cooperate with existing networks for sharing and adopting best practices.

Klemens van de Sand, Commissioner for Asia at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, summarized: "The idea of the initiative is broader than to facilitate investments: CDIA should develop into a center of excellence based on common goals and contributions by all actors involved."